Each birthday, I engage in a mind-blowing ritual. Typically, I gift myself an experience that is both memorable and expansive. This year’s birthday, 24 March, I attended a workshop on being conscious.
I was attracted to the topic because I had been feeling out-of-touch and untethered recently. Learning about consciousness, presence, and thought, I believed, would help me to gain some insight into the source of my dis-connection. While you may wonder what there is to ponder about consciousness in the first place, consider what it is. The online merriam-webster definition is as follows:
1: a: the quality or state of being aware especially of something within oneself
b : the state or fact of being conscious of an external object, state, or fact
c : awareness; especially : concern for some social or political cause
2: the state of being characterized by sensation, emotion, volition, and thought : mind
3: the totality of conscious states of an individual
4: the normal state of conscious life, as in “regained consciousness”
5: the upper level of mental life of which the person is aware as contrasted with unconscious processes
Thus, consciousness encompasses more than a state a being aware. It is actually a dynamic process where the brain is actively engaged and the mind, body, and spirit are in flowing communication with the neural pathways that lead us to express whether we are, in fact, aware.
Perhaps a diagram is helpful in capturing the essence of the extensiveness of our minds:
What we sense– see, hear, feel, etc.– is equally important as what we do not sense in allowing us to be conscious of whom we are and of what surrounds us. Many would posit that the later makes up the majority of the “information” we receive to function daily. Working on my highest and best version of myself requires that I continually learn to access and appreciate what I do not necessarily see in the physical world. Imagine the possibilities!
Happy birthday to me!